Mississippi Facts

Mississippi is the 20th state of the United States. The demonym of Mississippi is Mississippian. The territory achieved statehood on December 10, 1817. The capital of the state is Jackson and it is the biggest city as well. The state covers a total area of 48,430 sq miles and is the 32nd biggest state in the US.
Know about the interesting facts and trivia on Mississippi like its brief history, neighboring states, its nicknames, and famous residents.

Quick Facts

Official Name Mississippi
Area48,430 sq mi (125,443 km2)
Largest CityJackson
Official LanguagesEnglish
Time ZoneCentral: UTC 6/5
GovernorPhil Bryant
Lt. GovernorTate Reeves
U.S. SenatorThad Cochran, Roger Wicker
AbbreviationMS, Miss. US-MS
Joined the UnionDecember 10, 1817 (20th)
NicknameMagnolia State
Highest PointWoodall Mountain
Lowest PointGulf of Mexico
Official Websitehttp://www.mississippi.gov/

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Location and Geography: Mississippi is a state in the Southern Gulf region of the United States, right along the Mississippi River where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico. It is a low-altitude, wet, and humid area that is frequently vulnerable to tropical storms.

Counties and Regions: Mississippi has a large number of counties, with eighty-two. It can also be divided into these general geographical regions:
  • Golden Triangle (tri-city area)
  • Mississippi Plain
  • Mississippi Delta
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast
  • Natchez District
  • Pine Belt
  • Tennessee Valley

The state is also known for its rivers, as its rich soil is largely the result of the fact that it is mostly composed of river deltas. The most important rivers in Mississippi are as follows:
  • Big Black River
  • Chickasawhay River
  • Leaf River
  • Mississippi River
  • Pascagoula River
  • Pearl River
  • Tallahatchie River
  • Tombigbee River
  • Yazoo River

Population: The population of Mississippi is nearly three million people, making it the 31st most populated state in the Union. Much of Mississippi does not have a very high population density, and a great deal of its land is better for agriculture than for habitation.

Major Cities: The biggest city in Mississippi is its capital, Jackson, with a population of more than one hundred and seventy-two thousand people. None of its other cities has more than seventy thousand citizens.

Story Behind the Name: The state of Mississippi is named after the all-important Mississippi River, the largest river in the United States. The name is likely to have been adapted from a Native American Algonquian term meaning, unsurprisingly, “big river.”

History and Colonization: The region that is now the state of Mississippi was once home to a thriving civilization of Native Americans,who were descended from some of the first human beings to arrive on the North American continent millennia ago
The first Europeans to encounter them were Spanish explorers in the early sixteenth century, followed by French colonists in the early seventeenth century. Pieces of the territory were then claimed and traded back and forth between the Spanish, French, and British powers for many decades. The area had been held by the British when the Americans successfully revolted in the late eighteenth century, and so the newly formed United States gained control of it. Mississippi entered the Union as the 20th state in 1817.

From its earliest days, the ugly institution of slavery had a strong foothold in the Mississippi region. Slaves from Africa were frequently brought to continental North America through the port cities on the Gulf Coast. Not only that, the type of land in the American South was excellent for agriculture, especially the huge cash crop of cotton. This led to the development of a plantation culture that used slave labor to support the romantic lifestyle of a luxurious upper class. A middle class of working whites and a diminishing population of mixed-race people rounded out this picture, all painting a portrait of a complicated and multifaceted society.

Mississippi was one of the key founders of the Confederate States of America at the start of the American Civil War. After the Confederacy’s defeat and the difficult years of Reconstruction, newly freed African-Americans enjoyed a brief period of increased property ownership and political representation in the state before a backlash in the late nineteenth century created brutal repression for them. Many African-Americans left Mississippi in the first half of the twentieth century as part of a vast migration from the South (known as the Great Migration), bringing much of Mississippi’s unique culture to northern cities such as Chicago, and resulting in the spread of world-changing musical styles like jazz and blues.

The Civil Rights Movement of the mid-twentieth century was largely centered around the Mississippi region, targeting the state’s unusually repressive laws and regulations that were aimed at disenfranchising blacks. Mississippi is for this reason often thought of as backwards in some other parts of the American society, but this stereotype has been lessening over the last several decades. The area’s rich culture contains the roots of many important American traditions in music and cuisine, and Mississippi remains one of the most important agricultural producers in the country.

More Mississippi Facts & Trivia

1) The nicknames of Mississippi are "The Hospitality State" and "The Magnolia State".

2) Before achieving statehood, it was named as Mississippi Territory. The state was admitted to the Union on December 10, 1817 as the 20th state of the country.

3) In 1870, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union. In 1861, the state had seceded to join the Confederacy following the Civil War.

4) The capital of Mississippi is Jackson. It is also the largest city in the state.

5) The state shares its borders with Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River, and Louisiana.

6) Belzoni is nicknamed as the Catfish Capital of the World.

7) In 1963, the first human lung transplant in the world was performed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. This medical center is also famous for conducting the first cardiac transplant operation.

8) The Mississippi River is the longest river in the United States. It is also called the Old Man River.

9) The official motto is "By valor and arms".

10) The official tree is the Magnolia. The scientific name is Magnolia Grandiflora.

11) The official anthem of the state is "Go, Mississippi". It was written and composed by Houston Davis.

12) The state houses 29 state parks that are prime tourist attractions. Some of the popular parks include Natchez National Historical Park, Jackson Zoological Park, and Vicksburg National Military Park.

13) Jackson, Gulfport, and Biloxi are the three biggest cities in the state.

14) In the beginning, Mississippi was a French settlement and it served as a division of Louisiana. The British Army overpowered the French and subsequently, the area was taken over by the Spanish settlers. It was relinquished to the U.S. in 1783.

15) The official bird is the Mockingbird.

16) The official animal is the Red Fox.

17) The state insect is the Honeybee.

18) The tallest point in the state is the Woodall Mountain and its elevation is 806 feet.

19) The official fish is the Black Bass or Largemouth Bass.

20) The state mammal is the White-Tailed Deer and butterfly is the Spicebush Swallowtail

21) Famous residents of the state of Mississippi include John Grisham, James Earl Jones, Elvis Presley, and Oprah Winfrey.

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Last Updated on: September 29th, 2017